More and more, a lot of attention is being paid to the concept of mindfulness, both as a lifestyle choice and as a solution for health, happiness, contentment, pain and stress relief. As scientific evidence mounts in support of its benefits, it’s no wonder so many people are accepting mindfulness meditation as part of their daily routine.
Some people need a scientific approach, whereas others are content simply feeling meditation and mindfulness take them deep into their inner selves, connecting their mind, body and spirit as one.
In today's article, I want to go through three mindfulness practices that will help you improve your levels of contentment, peacefulness and happiness. These practices helped me make tremendous positive changes in my life, and I recommend anyone interested in becoming more centered give them a try.
Practice Mindful Breathing
Learning to become aware of your breathing is a large part of mindfulness. Deep diaphragm breathing helps us to oxygenate our body thoroughly, enabling us to feel more relaxed, to be more in tune with our surroundings and ourselves, and to calm our mind activity.
The act of breathing out for longer than breathing in has shown to be an effective method for relaxing and calming down. This can be useful during situations that invoke anxiety or stress. It's also a good practice to get used to in general. If you feel you aren't in tune with yourself, take a few moments to become aware of your breathing, making sure to use your diaphragm and to take longer exhales than inhales.
Develop Activity Awareness
Mindfulness doesn't just occur while meditating; it's the state of being present whenever you choose. For example, you can practice mindfulness while drinking a cup of tea or coffee. Empty your mind and focus on the sensations of your hand gripping the handle of your mug, lifting it towards your mouth, feeling the rim of the cup against your lips. Then take a sip. Feel the liquid in your mouth, let it sit a moment and then gently swallow it, making sure to notice all the sensations and tastes you experience.
By being mindful of the smallest, most insignificant actions, you learn to truly experience everything with all of your senses. A cup of tea becomes a peaceful and invigorating event since it's an opportunity for you to connect your mind, body and spirit in an effective way. Can you imagine how much happier and more relaxed you'd be if you used mindfulness for all activities?
Every activity can be carried out mindfully; you just have to have the passion and desire to make it happen. Reading a book can be a mindful activity, washing the dishes, taking a shower, riding your bike and so on - it’s your decision to be aware that stimulates mindfulness, not the activity.
When you start to bring awareness into your activities, they become far more meaningful and enjoyable, and you become more in tune with negative thoughts that cause stress. Awareness melts away these thoughts, which in turn dissolves negativity, reminding us how positivity and contentment are part of our true nature and how stressful thoughts cloud our minds only if we allow them to.
Surprisingly, technology can be a great way to become more mindful and to improve your life. For example, one of the ways I like to enhance my mindful awareness is to watch documentaries on science, spirituality, happiness and mindfulness. This helps me learn about my own biology and the way my mind operates so that I can understand myself better. This is different than the biology you learn in school because it’s directly relevant to how we live on a day-to-day basis.
Whilst watching documentaries on these subjects I notice I become peaceful and relaxed, and I often have multiple moments of inspiration and clarification. I also find I feel an urge to meditate or do things mindfully when a program finishes.
Recently, during a vacation in the mountains of Wales, I was staying in a log cabin. The TV reception wasn't great, but the cabin had WiFi, so I plugged in my Amazon Fire stick and used a secure network to watch some documentaries on Netflix. After watching, I sat outside of the cabin and had one of the most meaningful and relaxing mindfulness meditation sessions I can remember.
This is environmental influence and conditioning at its best. After all, whatever we focus on in life, we bring more of it about.
Overall, in my experience, using mindful breathing, developing a stronger awareness while performing activities, and watching documentaries on spirituality, happiness, and mindfulness has helped me dramatically increase my productivity and contentment towards life.
I'm certain anyone who is new to mindfulness or who hasn't attempted any of these solutions before stands to gain a lot through introducing them into their lives.
Caroline is a blogger and freelance writer who likes to share her experiences with different ways of relieving stress and anxiety, two things she has struggled with in her life. Mindfulness meditation has been one of the most successful strategies she has tried, and she spends a lot of time helping others realize its benefits.
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